When building and updating a B2B database, we try to gather revenue for each company so it is on a comparable basis as companies in other industry sectors. It sounds fairly simple and straight forward – however, it is not always that easy.

In those financial organizations that have a mix of business lines in additional to straight banking — insurance, brokerage, etc. – the total revenue figure is comparable to revenue in other segments. For those banking organizations, the reported revenues / income is usually a net income focused on two major elements – net interest income and net fee income.

As an example, take a look at the HSBC financials. If we look at their revenue shown on Business Week from Cap IQ and other, similar sources, the revenue reported in USD is approximately $54 billion. That is essentially the net figure after subtracting the interest and fee expenses. Look at their reported revenue on Yahoo or in their for 20f filed with the SEC and the revenue is closer to $100 billion which reflects the total interest and total fee income without subtracting the expenses.

For the Global 5000 companies, we have chosen to use (where possible) the total revenue number and NOT subtract out the expenses. This more closely reflects the total revenue of companies in other industries. The bottom line = they earned that revenue and yes, it cost them some expenses to achieve the revenue. It is the same in each industry. There is always an expense to generating the revenue.